Dr. Kate Drexel had just begun to suspect that the ‘beasts of Sirius’ were far more intelligent than they’d believed when the Sirians escaped containment. What no one hadn’t suspected was the reason behind their amazingly complex genome or that their rapid cell regeneration pointed to more than an extraordinary adaptability...
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 89,860
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Rating: Erotica Multiple sexual partners, ménage, adult language and situations
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, 2011
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
"Wait! Go back!" Dr. Kate Drexel exclaimed. When the robot seemed to continue to advance, she turned from the display and looked at the tech operating their robotic sample collector in annoyance. "Can you back it up?"
Her annoyance deepened as the tech glanced at the project leader, Dr. Sam Waters, for confirmation. Waters studied her a moment and finally nodded.
"What are we looking for?" the tech asked as he programmed the robot to retrace its steps.
"I don't know. It looked like it might be eggs. It could've been rocks, I suppose, but it looked out of place. Back up, back up … There!"
"I don't see anyth …." Dr. Waters broke off as Kate strode forward and tapped the display screen.
"Zoom in there."
"I see them--looks like rocks to me," the tech muttered.
"We've got enough rocks," Rodriquez agreed.
"They look too symmetrical to be rocks," Kate disputed and then glanced at her own team leader, Minks, for support. "What do you think?"
Minks narrowed his eyes at the objects under question.
"It's a streambed," Waters said dismissively. "The moving water could've shaped them like that."
"But …! They aren't smooth!" Kate argued. "Wouldn't they be smooth?"
The tech glanced at Waters again. Waters frowned but finally nodded and the tech moved the robot a little closer, zooming in more tightly on the objects under dispute.
"I don't see anything that looks 'nest-like' at all," Minks said after a moment. "They do look somewhat egg shaped, but they still look like rocks to me."
Impatience and anger wafted through Kate. So far, she had zilch as far as she was concerned. "I thought the idea was to collect as wide a range of samples as we could to get a picture of the environment? I'm not disputing the importance of studying the atmosphere, geology, and soil, but colonists are going to need to have some idea of what they'll be dealing with insofar as flora and fauna, too! So far we've got a great selection of rocks, dirt, water, and air samples--and micro-organisms--and a handful of insectoid organisms that we just happened to capture in the process of snatching a few plant clippings. If those are eggs, it could give us a chance to study a higher life form. If they're rocks--then you'll have more rocks!"
Waters' expression was tight with annoyance when she glanced at him, but the bastard knew it was true! It was just her luck that the mission leader, Waters, was a geologist and far more interested in collecting samples for himself and his part of the team than living organisms for the xenobiologists on the team. He excused his blatant favoritism by pointing out that they didn't have facilities on board the ship to preserve living organisms since they hadn't known enough about the planet to prepare for them and that they would be dead, decayed, and useless by the time the ship made it back.
He finally shrugged. "Get them, Mills. I think it is rocks, but they're along the streambed, as everyone pointed out. There might be something useful attached to them."
"Careful!" Kate cautioned as she watched the robotic arm reach out and the 'fingers' close on the first object.
"She might be right," the tech, Mills, said, surprise in his voice. "The readings indicate the object is soft."
"Reptilian?" Minks speculated, excitement now threading his voice. "Something like a snake or a crocodile?"
"It's by the water," Waters murmured. "That would seem to imply that, wouldn't it?"
"Water birds nest close to water," Sonja Rice pointed out. "Some mammals, too."
"If it was earth, it could be any of those possibilities," Kate said, trying to keep her voice neutral. "But this is Sirius. The chances are that it won't be anything we're at all familiar with."
"You've got a point, Dr. Drexel," Waters agreed. "And yet, so far, we've seen a lot of similarities. Sirius may not be Earth's twin, but it's starting to look close enough to be a kissing cousin."
"Except there don't seem to be any beings of higher intelligence," Mills said. "Isn't that weird considering the other similarities to earth that we've found and the age we've calculated of the system?"
Noo had been aware of movement and felt the threat of danger but until he managed to break through his pod and examine his surroundings he had no idea how serious the threat was. Alarm went through him as soon as his eyes adjusted enough to allow him to examine his surroundings. His nose had already told him the worst, however. There was no scent of water and none of food.
Weak from his struggles, he lay where he fell, trying to gather the strength to search for food and water before he became too weak to do so. His nest mates, Rak and Dae broke from their pods and tumbled onto the hard surface before he'd had time to gather his strength, and lay weakly on the hard, cold surface as he had, struggling for breath.
Where are we?
Not on Ra, he responded, rolling over at last and pushing himself to his feet. While they rested, trying to regain their own strength, he shuffled painfully around the hard pod in search of an opening. There wasn't one, but he found a surface that was pliable. It was long and very thin, covering an opening too narrow, he was afraid, to allow them to escape, but he examined it anyway. Hooking his talons in it, he began tugging at it and finally managed to tear it a little. When he did, air wafted to him that contained all the smells he'd expected to detect when he'd emerged from his pod.
Rak! Dae! There is food and water here!
Encouraged by their needs, his nest mates struggled up and joined him, helping him tear at the strange thing until they had shredded it. Noo peered through the opening they had made. This is a strange place.
Very strange, Rak agreed.
And definitely not Ra, Dae said. How did we come to be here?
I felt movement. You did not?
Dae frowned. I did, but I thought we had been carried away by a flood.
Mayhap we can figure it out later--if we live. I smell food and water, but I do not see any.
Rak pushed his nose to the narrow crevice. It is in those strange pods.
Father! Dae called out when he realized they were trapped. Help us!
We cannot get to the food and water! Noo yelled.
We are trapped! Rak added.
The three paused, tilting their heads to listen.
The father is not near, Rak concluded finally. He has followed the queen to seed her again.
We are not on Ra, Noo pointed out.
But we would be if the father had not followed the queen, Dae said angrily. He would have guarded the nest otherwise.
That seemed inarguable. In any case, they were on their own regardless of what had happened to put them in that position.
The three of them began tearing at the oddly hard and flat side of the pod they were trapped in, alternately battering against it. Abruptly, it simply fell away. They inched to the edge of the opening and peered around for predators. Relieved when they saw none, nor smelled anything threatening, they climbed out and allowed their noses to lead them to the food and water they needed.
They were almost too weak to eat and drink by the time they'd managed to tear open the strange, hard pods where the food and water had been hidden. They began to feel better once they'd filled their bellies, however--stronger, but sleepy from their full stomachs.
I need to sleep, Noo announced.
I also, Rak agreed.
I am tired, too, Dae told them indignantly, but someone needs to watch for predators.
There are none in this strange place, Noo said dismissively. We would have smelled them.
I smell something strange, Dae pointed out. You do not smell it?
It passed this way long ago, Noo said. The scent is old and stale.